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Hidden away on a quiet side street in Tokyo, in a nondescript brown brick building, lies a semi-hidden trove of cuteness. I say “hidden” because we’ve had an adventure in itself coming here.
As we make our way away from the subway, and wind through what appears to be a residential area, trying to follow the path Google maps has set, I comment, “wouldn’t it be funny if we were in the wrong place?”
“No. It would not be funny!” We are, apparently, not amused.
But then I see a man and a young girl walking down the hill towards us, a smile on their faces, white bag in hand and I am sure that what lies in that white bag is one of the cutest desserts in Tokyo, especially if you’re a Studio Ghibli fan.
Finally reaching the top of the hill, and turning the corner, I am vindicated, along with my technology-assisted direction-finding capabilities. A sign:
Inside, two women stand behind a counter full of nothing but Totoro-shaped cream puffs. There are no CatBus shaped puffs, no soot sprites, no Calcifer. Totoro, and nothing but Totoro. There’s something to be said for doing one thing well.
You can buy a few Ghibli souvenirs here, and boxes of Totoro-shaped cookies if the cream puffs didn’t supply you with enough sugar.
Upstairs, however, there is a cafe. While I can’t vouch for the food there as my spouse didn’t wish to stay and eat, I’d recommend calling for reservations if you want to eat in.
So, what did we think about the Totoro cream puffs? I thought they were too cute to eat, but I finally succumbed. And they were…fine. They were sweet and cream-filled as a cream puff should be. I’ve had cream puffs with a softer outer shell and, I suppose, these need to be a bit firmer to keep their shape.
My SO’s opinion? “I don’t like them.”
But, be honest — if you visit a Totoro cream puff bakery, are you indeed here for the flavor of the cream puffs?
Whatever your opinion of the cream puffs, whether you like the taste or not, I thought our visit to Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory and Totoro cafe was well worth the trip. I’m glad that we took the time to visit. I’ve had cute deserts (see the Rilakuma desert in our Arashiyama post), but if you love Totoro and Miyazaki, these are the winners! Now, I need to figure out how to make my own!
Getting to Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory and Totoro Cafe
To my recollection, the Inokashira and Odakyu lines are both off the Yamanote line that you’ll probably become very familiar with if you visit Tokyo. Google Maps provided accurate directions to find it, so don’t become discouraged if you think you’re off-track.
Have you been to Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory? What did you think?
If you like this post, you might also want to check out our post about geeky things to do in Kyoto.